end of King David’s life the Holy Spirit tells us of thirty-seven men.
These thirty-seven were described as “David’s mighty men” by God Himself
(2 Sam 23:8, 39).
At the time of David’s death when these men were recognized, some of
them had passed from this life having fallen in battle. By making this
list God wanted all of us to know that King David,
described by God Himself
as “the man exalted by the Most High, the man anointed by the God of
23:1), did not
accomplish these great things alone.
Have you ever had a close
Christian friend? I pray that all of you can answer in the affirmative
and that in fact you may list many names of those who have stood beside
you in the fight for righteousness. What David found in the support of
his mighty men, other righteous men everywhere have also sought in their
service to God. “As
iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his
How did these mighty men
come to be a part of the life of David? From the scriptures we learn
that it had nothing to do with social standing, accomplishments or
family. These men came to David having already been rejected by the
world as misfits and useless. “And everyone
who was in
distress, everyone who
was in debt,
and everyone who
was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them.
And there were about four hundred men with him.
(1 Sam 22:2)”
how did they come to seek David? They likely came to David the way
Jonathan became best friends with him, by seeing the power of a living
faith in David’s life. Jonathan first met David after his stand by faith
allowed him to be the instrument used to slay Goliath and demoralize the
armies of the Philistines. Jonathan saw David with the severed head of
Goliath talking with his father Saul and the scriptures tell us: “Now
when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to
the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
(1 Sam 18:1)”
This close association
with David, a man of courage and faith, produced men who in many ways
became like David. God tells us about the courage and tenacity of these
men. Eleazar attacked when others were fearful. He fought so hard
that his sword stuck to his hand after the battle! Because of his
courage the entire battle for the Lord was won.
(2 Sam 23:9-10)
Shammah, like Eleazar stood in a field when others fled. One man
against a troop of Philistines was nothing to a man who by faith knew
that God was with him. Does this not remind you of David?
(2 Sam 23:11-12)
These men displayed a
loyalty and love towards David that went beyond mere obligation. Our God
wanted us to know of one remarkable event involving the mighty men and
David. Hear God’s account: “Then three of the thirty chief men went down
at harvest time and came to David at the cave of Adullam. And the troop
of Philistines encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. David
then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines
Bethlehem. And David said with longing, “Oh, that someone would give me
a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem, which
by the gate!” So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the
Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that
by the gate, and took it and brought
to David. Nevertheless he would not drink it, but poured it out to the
he said, “Far be it from me, O LORD, that I should do this! Is
not the blood of
the men who went in
jeopardy of their
lives?” Therefore he would not drink it. These things were done by the
three mighty men”
When a relationship is
based upon the love of God one does not have to wait upon pressure from
men before they act. Love will always seek what is best for the one who
is loved. All these mighty men needed to do was hear the desire of David
and it immediately became their desire as well. They fought through the
enemy lines twice just to bring back a drink of water from the well of
David’s childhood. David recognized the precious gift these men had
given and in turn offered it to the God who gives this kind of love!
Remember this truth from God “Owe no one anything except to love one
another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.
These mighty men even
though possessing strength and strong wills listened to David and as a
result they subdued their instincts to act against a helpless enemy. On
one occasion Abishai boldly accompanied David when he went to the
camp of Saul and found him and his guard asleep and helpless. Abishai
concluded that God wanted him to immediately kill Saul. Only one man
could stop him from acting: “Then Abishai said to David, “God has
delivered your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore, please, let
me strike him at once with the spear, right to the earth; and I will not
have to strike
him a second time!” But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him; for
who can stretch out his hand against the
anointed, and be guiltless?” David said furthermore, “As
Lord shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall
go out to battle and perish. The
forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the
anointed. (1 Sam
influence was not with these men at all times. Under the influence of
his older wicked brother Joab, Abishai lied to, ambushed and then
murdered Abner just after David had made peace with him. What would
David do? This was one of his mighty men who loved him dearly. But David
loved God more than he loved any man. When it came to right and wrong no
one got a free pass! David publicly responded “And I
today, though anointed king; and these men, the sons of Zeruiah,
harsh for me. The
shall repay the evildoer according to his wickedness.
(2 Sam 3:39)”
We could not complete our
examination of these mighty men without revealing how Satan through the
sin of David led him to commit a great sin against a close friend. The
account of the sin of adultery between David and Bathsheba is well known
as well as how David was unable to cover up his sin by having
Bathsheba’s husband Uriah the Hittite
recalled from the army so that he might be with his wife. Uriah refused
to enjoy the comforts that his fellow soldiers in the field could not,
so he slept outside rather than enter his home. David’s cover-up had
failed. What was he to do? David had this faithful servant murdered by
commanding Joab to let him die by withdrawing troops from him in the
heat of battle.
Most of you know the rest
of the story but there is one fact that you may not know. At the end of
the list of David’s mighty men, these men who would give their lives for
their beloved leader, was this name: “Uriah the Hittite”
(2 Sam 23:39).
Let no one doubt that
David went to heaven and served the remainder of his life faithful to
God. Also, let no one doubt the terrible consequences of sin. How many
have forsaken their faithful companion who is their mate, or faithful
Christians who would give their lives for another, because of the
temporary allure of sin and then the terrible web of consequences that
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like
a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Today we are to be Jesus’
1. We are called out of a
world that rejects us as useless.
(1 Cor 1:26-29)
2. We are drawn to the life of the one who died for us.
3. We are molded into the image of our mighty leader whom we closely
4. We are
motivated to act not just out of obligation, but out of love.
5. We are not afraid to fight for what is right even when other flee.
6. We will fight the efforts of the wicked one to separate us and
destroy us from our faithful leader.
Will you be on God’s list
as a mighty man of Jesus when you die? Let us seek the association of
these kinds of friends. This is how the path to heaven is paved!
There is no friend like an old friend
Who has shared our morning days,
No greeting like his welcome,
No homage like his praise.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes